Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hold the Line! - All Quiet on the Martian Front AAR

This past weekend, Gary finally got a chance to bring out his All Quiet collection for a massive game. I was supposed to bring out my own small force, but decided against it as I still hadn't finished painting everything. Unfortunately, I had neglected to tell Gary this, so we had to do some last minute points shuffling. 

Gary had to drop a trio of Scout tripods from the list, but that still left an imposing amount of Martian walkers ready to deploy on the table. Gary's fantastic looking grey-and-steel color scheme was further accentuated by the imposing red eyes of the cyclopic machines. He would be commanding the aliens during this game (having worn his Marvin the Martian t-shirt as emphasis). 

Not to be outdone, the humans brought along an impressive array of their own machines, with plenty of Mk II and III steam tanks, a Mk IV Monitor, Mk II command tanks, a lone clamp tank, artillery (both static and mobile) and plenty of infantry. 

The Martians would be approaching from the farmland, intent on wiping out the thin line of infantry hiding in their trenches. The humans would try to hold the line as their tanks and artillery would hopefully do enough damage to drive the tripods back. 

My infantry and machine gun squads went into the trenches, with one of the command teams in support. The single unit of Rough Riders was placed to take advantage of the one area of the trenches that had a gap. The towed heavy artillery set up on top the the hill, and the mobile artillery parked on the edge of the woods. One group of tanks sat ready to move up the road, while the other waited behind the woods. 

Gary's Martians were all over the place, with the Grenadiers on the sides and the Slavers and their Drones in the center. Scouts ranged forward while the Assault tripods made up the bulk of the alien attackers. 

The first few turns saw the human tanks slowly trundling forwards as the infantry withstood barrages of heat rays and bombardments from the Grenadiers. What few civilians remained in the area fled as the tripods stomped past their homes. 

As a side note, what I like so much about All Quiet is the fantastic profiles the Martian tripods have when viewed at table height. Imagine seeing these machines marching towards you from the horizon!

While the humans were able to score some casualties on the Martians (including one very lucky machine gun bullet from the clamp tank), the tripods swarmed forward, their heat rays sweeping across the trenches. Infantrymen perished, either burned away in crimson brilliance or falling, choking and wheezing from the effects of the Martian's green gas and black ash. 

While the trenches made it much harder for the Martians to hit the infantry, the Scouts used their targeters to make the infantry much easier to hit. The trenches were quickly depleting even as the tanks rolled up and started to blaze away. 

Soon, the humans were down to three infantry stands huddling in a bunker. The tanks and artillery fired desperately, hoping for a Martian tripod to blow up and potentially damage the others.

It was looking pretty grim for the infantry!

Another round of Martian shooting left the bunker a molten pile of slagged concrete. Victory to the Martians!

Not wanting to end the game there, however, Gary and I decided to continue slugging it out, hoping to see if one side could cause the other to break. Many of the tripods started to take damage. One had its legs crippled before being immobilized by the clamp tank. One of the Slavers went down, leaving only a single controller for the Drones. Two more tripods had their weapon systems damaged and almost shot one another. 

But now that the infantry were gone, the tripods were free to begin firing at the tanks. Mk IIs and IIIs started to blow up all along the line. The back line of artillery, still untouched, continue to fire into the Martian lines. The last Slaver had its legs crippled, and I won control of it, so I drove it backwards, preventing the Drones from doing anything. In retaliation, Gary directed the Slaver to take a shot at my Monitor - and destroyed it!

The game ended on turn six, with Gary still taking the victory. Both sides had been bloodied, with many of the Tripods going down in the second half of the game. I really should have deployed my tanks much closer to the trenches, instead of worrying about them being blown up - Gary would have been forced to decided on targeting the harder-hitting, better protected tanks, or focusing on the infantry to try and win the scenario. In our game, he was able to destroy the infantry, then turn his attention on the tanks. 

This was my second game of All Quiet, and was just as fun as the game I played over at On Military Matters. All Quiet is definitely a great scenario game, but I could never really see it being played all that well as a 'turn-up-and-play' kind of game. There are just too many rules for too many units scattered all over the place. For some - like the Rough Riders - Gary gave me printouts on rules from the All Quiet forums! An update is definitely needed to get all these rules back into one book, hopefully with a better index. 

And as a bonus picture, we had a couple guys playing Command & Colors: Napoleonic at the store using big hexes, terrain and actual miniatures. Pretty cool!

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